This weekend is the last of my maternity leave. It has gone so quickly and in the blink of an eye my gigantic 9lb 4oz tiny baby girl is now 8 months old and it’s time to return to work. I feel like it was yesterday that we were stripping the walls of her bedroom, wondering what on earth a white noise sheep had to do with a good nights sleep and buying baby things that we didn’t even previously know had existed in preparation for her arrival!
I wish that I could take more time off but I’m coming to terms with the reality that I have to work. I can handle it. It means that for two days a week I’ll be using a nursery and any time that I have work at the weekend she will be with her dad. We’ve done the settling in sessions at and everything is now sorted. She even has her own coat peg, weep!
The nursery seems lovely and the older children seem confident and chatty. I’m hoping that it will be as good for her as everyone says it will be. I know that they are saying this to be kind but I need the kind words when it comes to leaving my most precious and fantastic thing in the care of someone else.
“She’ll have the chance to socialise with other children” they say.
“I hope they are nice to her and that she makes friends” I think to myself.
I still have Parenting in Pyjamas words about knowing that the staff ‘are trained but are they trained in love?’ ringing in my ears. I hope she feels loved there. When I read Parenting in PJs’ blog post I shed a tear but now I truly understand the feeling of having to leave your baby at nursery for the first time. It’s scary and heart breaking. I feel like she’s too little to be left!
The first time I sat down to write this post I think I was feeling far too emotional about it, ended up crying and having to eat a large pack of Doritos to calm myself down. (My post baby weight loss is going grand thanks for asking)
Now, I am starting to focus on the positive aspects. Yes, I would prefer in an ideal world to stay at home with my daughter instead of looking after strangers. They don’t need me to cuddle them or sing hip hop nursery rhymes to them. But I do love my job. I don’t love it more than I love spending time with my daughter but I have to work. And it will be good for us both in many ways. It will be great for stopping me watching shite daytime TV for example!
I’ve tried to make the most of my last week of maternity leave. Picnics in the park with baby friends, walking around in the evenings as a family and time at home just having some chilled out mum and baby mornings. We’ve slept in (thank you for babies who like to lie in!). A lot of lunches have taken place.
I’ve spent less time on my phone and more time in the present. When I do look at my phone, I find myself flicking through the thousands of photographs of this time we have had since her birth. I’ve started printing the ‘best’ ones out and I cannot believe how much she has changed. So many emotions attached to each one. Endless sleeping baby pictures and the photos of family members holding her. The photos of her wearing the hand knitted things people we love made for her because they love her. There are the tired and eye bagged but ecstatically proud selfies.
Remembering the first time I took her out in her pram (to the pound shop and back!LOL!) and the first time I took her out for lunch (hey hey nando’s!). We took pictures of the day we registered her (my birthday!) and photographed baths, feeds even a couple of nappy changes in there! It has been a magical time and I’ve enjoyed every minute. Even the sleepless nights, the teething days and the times she has dramatically pooed on us in public.
I think a major highlight for me is that I have been able to share a large portion of my maternity leave with my sister in law whose son was born just two weeks after my daughter. I love that the baby cousins have had this time together. It has added a special something to having a baby when there are two in the family at the same time. When I have felt alone or shitty my SIL has been there and I have valued her friendship and also her willingness to have regular Costa coffee trips!
The last 8 months have been the most eventful months of my entire life. This small human has had this huge impact on our lives in more ways than we ever thought she would. I can’t imagine my life without her and I don’t want to. I’m thankful that my job allows me to have a generous paid leave. When I feel sad about returning to work, I remind myself that some people aren’t as lucky and go back to work much sooner. And a lot of people will go back for more days than I am. I’m looking forward to appreciating the days I do get to spend with her and even more the days we’ll have as a family.
So goodbye maternity leave you wonderful thing and hello to a new chapter! Working and mum-ing simultaneously. Oh, god it sounds a bit like trying to ride a unicycle whilst spinning a plate on a rod!